Hispano Suiza: Then and now

The Hispano Suiza supercar debuts at the 2010 Geneva auto show.

Hispano Suiza
The Hispano Suiza supercar is based on an Audi R8 and an old nameplate. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

GENEVA--The Geneva auto show always plays host to a fleet of exotic cars with completely unknown names, but Hispano Suiza isn't one of them. The nameplate, dormant for more than 70 years, previously belonged to a line of luxury touring cars, the last one built in 1938.

Spanish company Mazel has been attempting to bring it back, having launched a couple of Hispano Suiza concepts around 2000. For the latest model, shown at the 2010 Geneva auto show, the company took a shortcut, building its custom body onto an Audi R8 chassis.

Although retaining the Audi R8's 5.2-liter V-10 engine, the company fitted it with two superchargers, boosting the horsepower up to 739. Mazel claims it will take the new Hispano Suiza to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds.

Fun fact: In San Francisco taquerias, a suiza is a quesadilla with meat.

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